Two teams who's leaders fled before the fight. Two ragtag bunches of scrappers, kids and state league journeymen. Is this what the A-League has come to?
The game was dire for the first 70 add minutes, both goals were scrappy and fortuitous, neither side really looked capable of breaking the deadlock. The exciting new A-League with it's TV commercials and it's marquee attractions looked more like the ice-cream stand on that stretch of beach which was popular in the eighties, with its faded pine lime split poster and paddle pops covered in ice from repeated thawing.
Craig Moore had long since left the sinking ship and Robbie Fowler sat in the stands, dummy retrieved and hanging reluctantly from a protruding bottom lip. This is not how it was supposed to be, this should have been the Rangers Captain verse the Liverpool legend - God verse Captain Socceroo... it he end it was Smith (he of Brisbane strikers fame... is fame the right word?) against Luke DeVere to see who could make snuffing out an inept attack look easier. Hardly what we were promised at the start of this landmark season.
We should pause to give DeVere his due, he was immense a Brisbane defence that still looks vulnerable (and before the moaners start - did not look any better with Moore at the heart). Despite the promising partnership developing between DeVere and new signing Collen, the wingback positions are a concern. Zullo, who's awful tackle which left Jeremy Brockie with a fractured leg demonstrating his defensive flaws, seems wasted at left back, while it is a sad indictment of the dying days of Farina's tenure that Franjic, plucked fresh from the Oakleigh Cannons, often looked Farina's best player.
While the departures of Moore, Farina and Miller have left many fans upset at the club's handling of the situation, those who have shelled out hard earned cash week after week to watch the teams appalling performances this season have plenty of sympathy for the boards decision to back Postacoglou's tougher attitude and resulting clear out. Whether Fury fans will feel the same way about the treatment of their Captain is doubtful. On fox sports Slater and Bosnich pilloried Ian Ferguson for his ineptitude and disrespect in asking Fowler to sit on the bench. They had no problem with Fowler (who incidentally is under contract to the club and paid generously to do as the manger asks him to, spitting the dummy and nursing his injured pride in the stands rather than suffer the indignity of starting from the bench. Who does he he think he is... God?
It hardly seems unreasonable that Ferguson would consider resting the striker who's aging legs seem to have been tiring in recent weeks, to be deployed late in the game against a Roar team sitting near the bottom of the table and low on confidence. As things have panned out, Fowlers petulant, arogant refusal to sit on the bench deprived Fury of an effective replacement for the injured Brockie and may well have cost the club finals football. Fury fans could be forgiven for feeling betrayed.
Happily it was not all doom and gloom, the last time the Roar visited Townsville the match fans witnessed perhaps the most uninspiring display in football history. While hardly slick, this match saw a much improved Roar. The other good news was the last 20 minutes when the introduction of Mitch Nichols inspired some marvelous pass and move from the roar sparking a period in which the Roar peppered the home goal enough to convince they deserved something more from the game. It boggles the mind that Nichols was criticised on the 442 Orange Army forums for his performance, as his introduction changed the game and invoked nostalgic memories of the heights the Roar reached in the run in to the finals last season.